Parker called the role his “big break”
MARBLE CITY, GA–When Ben Parker learned he had earned a guest role on the hit AMC series, The Walking Dead, he could barely contain himself. The 38 year-old actor, founder and director of The Marble City Players acting troupe, has always felt that his talents and techniques deserve a much greater audience than the creaky 150 seat Marble City Playhouse, where he has acted for three decades.
“Ben has always been super serious about his craft,” says Helen Goode, who has acted with Parker for 12 years, “He has studied all the giants, Stanislavksi, Chekov and Strasberg, and taken their lessons and developed them into an even more immersive method. His level of dedication is astounding.”
Parker began his preparation for the role, a character called Walker No. 34, by researching the behavior of walkers, more commonly known as zombies.
“Ben said that there wasn’t much on the page informing him of his character’s history and motivations,” Goode says, “That can be extremely exciting as an actor, deciphering the subtext of the script and creating a personal history for the character based on what the script doesn’t tell you. It’s a wonderfully creative process.”
Goode says Parker initially had trouble understanding his character’s innate hunger and ultimate humanity, or lack thereof.
“Ben finally understood that what motivates Walker No. 34 is not what motivates an actual, living person,” says Goode, “Because Walker No. 34 is not alive. Ben understood that in order to understand the character of Walker No. 34, he would have to also not be alive.”
Goode says Parker’s dedication to this method of acting is at a higher level than other actors who claim to adhere to method techniques, such as Daniel Day-Lewis and Robert DeNiro.
“DeNiro might eat a few extra donuts and gain some weight,” says Goode, “But does he have a level of dedication to this craft to compel him to actually take his life for a role? Go be on a sitcom. Go be on fucking Two and a Half Men! Call me when you reach that level. The moment Ben pulled that trigger was the moment I realized I was witnessing genius. That was two days ago. When it comes time to shoot his scene, I doubt he will even have to go to make up.”